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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2011

Michael F. Bernard-Donals
Affiliation:
University of Missouri, Columbia
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Summary

This book's premise begins with two simple and related questions. First, why should we study aesthetic constructs, and what kind of knowledge does that study yield; and second, what does the work of Mikhail Bakhtin offer to such a study? The questions can be made more precise: how can aesthetic knowledge be said to have social significance; and, if literary analysis does affect or change human social relations, what is the nature of that change? Bakhtin's project – which he called a “sociological poetics” – is at once an analysis of how social structures are comprised of language, and of how aesthetic objects are uniquely formed social structures, and so is uniquely positioned to intervene in the space delimited by these questions.

Yet at the foundation of Bakhtin's work lies an ambivalence about the way the human subject is constructed. In his earliest work – which bears a close relation to Husserl's phenomenology, Gadamer's hermeneutics, and the aesthetic theory of the neo-Kantian resurgence of the 1910s and 1920s – Bakhtin proposes a human subject that is defined by its relation to other subjects, and the ways in which that relation is manifested in the creation of signs. The “phenomenological” works emphasize the inescapability of language, and suggest analyses of (aesthetic) language based on the complexities of one subject's relation to another. As his work progresses, however, Bakhtin pays more attention to the material conditions of the human subjects whose language is under analysis.

Type
Chapter
Information
Mikhail Bakhtin
Between Phenomenology and Marxism
, pp. xi - xiv
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1995

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  • Preface
  • Michael F. Bernard-Donals, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Book: Mikhail Bakhtin
  • Online publication: 03 May 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511552748.001
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  • Preface
  • Michael F. Bernard-Donals, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Book: Mikhail Bakhtin
  • Online publication: 03 May 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511552748.001
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
  • Michael F. Bernard-Donals, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Book: Mikhail Bakhtin
  • Online publication: 03 May 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511552748.001
Available formats
×